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Decision-Makers in the Dock: How Trials, Human Rights Advocacy and International Law are Shaping the Justice Norm

RSS Source: New Global Studies (Journal) - November 29, 2012 - 7:46am

The mid-1980s marks the start of what has become a rapid shift towards new norms and practices of providing more accountability for human rights violations through the use of trials. This dramatic increase in human rights prosecutions is the direct result of the activism of the human rights movement. The increase in trials in turn has aided the development of international criminal law and has promoted the formal institutionalization of new accountability standards for international organizations. This article traces the emergence and diffusion of the justice norm. Then using two sets of case studies it examines how international law and human rights activism have interacted to create new opportunities for domestic prosecution in Argentina and the process through which the United Nations came to adopt formal standards on prosecutions and amnesties.

Counter-Elites Swimming Up-Stream: The Challenge of Pursuing a Political Rights Agenda where Economic Rights Trump

RSS Source: New Global Studies (Journal) - November 29, 2012 - 7:46am

The most recent spate of ‘democratic revolutions’, ushering in the fourth wave of democratization, seems to lend support to those advocating for the primacy of political and civil rights, over economic, cultural and social ones, in the human rights framework. In this article, I challenge that idea, arguing instead that the most recent regime changes, like so many that have preceded them, were, if anything, more about economic rights than political ones. I reassess not only the most recent ‘revolutions’, but also those that took place over the course of the 20th century, showing commonalities among the human rights goals of communists, anti-communists and contemporary pro-democracy leaders. By framing these various revolutionaries as human rights agents, and mass publics as their allies, this article is designed to engage readers in a debate about what, if any, sorts of rights truly hold primacy. The difference between today’s pro-democracy leaders and yesterday’s communist ones rests on the perceived international legitimacy of the democratic template. Yet all of these leaders, I argue, have essentially struggled for political change not as an end, but as a means to improved economic rights.

Stigmas and Memory of Slavery in West Africa: Skin Color and Blood as Social Fracture Lines

RSS Source: New Global Studies (Journal) - November 29, 2012 - 7:46am

The campaign and eventual abolition of the African slave was momentous on several levels, not least for its impact on the global economy. In Africa itself, it brought about constant conflict. This article traces the ambiguities of the anti-slavery struggle on the part of the colonial powers, with a main emphasis on French colonies. It then proceeds to explore the legacies of slavery in several of these societies before reaching some broader conclusions about the contemporary discourse of legitimacy and memory.

The History of Human Rights: The Big Bang of an Emerging Field or Flash in the Pan?

RSS Source: New Global Studies (Journal) - November 29, 2012 - 7:46am

This article explores the emerging historiography of human rights. After reviewing the current emphasis in the literature on the origins of human rights, the essay inquires into possible futures of this nascent historical field. What might scholarly interest in more unified frames of knowledge that bridge the natural and the cultural realms mean for future historiographies of human rights?

International Law and Human Rights: Diverging and Converging Histories

RSS Source: New Global Studies (Journal) - November 29, 2012 - 7:46am

This article explores ways to think about the historical intersections of international law and human rights visions and principles in a global context. It catalogues an intertwining of new historiographies, notably the recent convergence of research interests of historians and international lawyers that draws attention to non-linear analyses; the role of social movements in understanding developments in the law; and the importance of historical contexts for interpretation. It sketches one promising analytical framework to assess the dynamic interconnections of international law and human rights from the mid-nineteenth century through the formal creation of the human rights system under U.N. auspices between 1945 and 1949. It concludes with a case study of gender tensions in more recent human rights global politics to provide historically-specific examples of the new possibilities of bringing historical interpretations to the study of international law and human rights.

NGOs and Development Reconsidered

RSS Source: New Global Studies (Journal) - November 29, 2012 - 7:46am

The remarkable rise in the number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide during the 1980s and 1990s has led to the need for a sober reassessment of their role in development. By the late 1990s, the NGOs’ earlier celebration as the “magic bullet” for achieving development objectives was replaced by a number of questions concerning their legitimacy, accountability and transparency, and ultimately their ability to effectively reduce poverty in developing countries. The present paper readdresses this set of questions and attempts to provide some answers based on studies conducted over the past ten years. In this context, we found that marginal improvements in the NGO impact at the country program level can be recorded. Other issues, however, remain unresolved. Finally, we offer a number of suggestions enabling these institutions to act more effectively as contributors to development. Overall, our findings suggest the need to take off our rose-colored glasses and adopt a more realistic view.

The Rise of Digital Politics: Social Media, Mobile Devices and the Campaign

The growth of social media and rapid adoption of internet-enable mobile devices have changed the way Americans engage in the political process. An infographic provides summary of the latest data from national surveys taken during the 2012 campaign.

Cell Phones: They're For More Than Just Making Calls

Fully 85% of American adults own a cell phone, and the devices have become a portal for an ever-growing list of activities. Taking photos and texting top the list.

Parents Concerned About Teens' Online Activities and Privacy

Most parents of teenagers are concerned about what their teenage children do online and how their behavior could be monitored by others.
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